Straight white teeth are a form of social currency. Alternately, crooked, broken and discolored teeth can directly impact one’s ability to attract a mate, land a job, and secure less unequal treatment in society. Common sense may tell you this is true, but there have also been academic studies which prove the point, such as this one from Ontario, Canada.

My paternal grandparents, Pop pop and Nana

My Nana and Pop pop, who were my paternal grandparents, took me into their modest home and raised me from my teenage years into adulthood. Nana had buck teeth, which she often referenced in a self-conscious and self-deprecating manner. Pop pop’s teeth were rather crooked, and both of my grandparents had brown tints to their teeth from years of drinking tea. We lived on their Social Security, and a very small monthly check from my father. I’ve never known two people who were more selfless and loving, good to the bone, and sturdy. I give thanks that I tumbled out of my middle class upbringing to live with family who instilled common sense and working class sensibilities in my fanciful head. To them I give credit for the values which have guided me through the valley of the shadow of death as a “plague doctor” during a pandemic.

Nana and Pop pop had three boys. Doug and Bruce were the youngest and middle brothers respectively, and my dad was the oldest. The story was that Pop pop sold his coin collection to help pay for my dad’s first year at Penn State, and there wasn’t money left for braces. As a result my dad had teeth just as crooked as Pop pop’s. I remember his fast work with a toothpick after eating corn-on-the-cob in the summertime. Although his smile was imperfect, it was big, kind-hearted and freely offered in friendship and humor.

In junior high school I still had a gap between my two front teeth. I wasn’t self-conscious about it until some scornful classmates used it to taunt me, and then I realized that this was a thing. Braces soon followed, which were becoming a badge of middle class status. I didn’t follow through with my retainer, and so I have an overbite, again. At eighteen I injured my left upper front tooth, which was replaced with a crown. At a party a few years later, a UPenn dental student pointed out that the enamel of my crown didn’t match the rest of my teeth. I was so surprised by her lack of social graces that I neglected to tell her to bug off to the moon. But, I was reminded again that in the eyes of many people, crooked, stained, mismatched, missing and imperfect teeth leave you lower on the social ladder.

The funny thing is that the older I get, the more I trust people with “bad” teeth. At least I know that they are rubbing up against the gritty truth of our existence, and they are less likely to pretend they are better. They are often capital C Characters, and that is a step up in my book.


During nursing school I was working full-time hours, taking full-time classes, up to my gills in rotating credit card debt to pay for classes, and stressed to the breaking point. It’s a testimony to her Taurus tenacity and Catholic kindness that my beloved wife stuck with me through that time.

At some point during those years I developed weeping lesions on both sides of my face. They were each about the size of a pinky finger, below my ears, along my jawline. They were red and angry, weeping straw colored fluid. Trips to my primary doc and the Dermatologist brought prescriptions for potions, lotions and pills, none of which helped. These sores on my face added an exponential layer of stress upon me as I was going through clinical rotations. Although none were so guache as to mention it outright, I could follow the eyes of patients and medical professionals to my bright red racing strips and see the alarm and questions forming in their minds.

It eventually occurred to me to try a homeopathic remedy called Rhus Toxidendron, which is formulated from Poison Ivy. My brain made the connection betwen the open weeping lesions one would experience with a severe case of Poison Ivy. I had lived and worked on a farm in France years before, back when I thought I wanted to be a farmer. The family on this farm had their own pharmacy of remedies, some of which dated back more than a hundred years, made by their grandparents. Within a week of starting Rhus Tox my lesions were gone. It would become one of hundreds of cases in my career where a simple intervention resolved what dozens of practitioners and therapies couldn’t touch.


About three months ago there was a week in which I had three different patients who developed worsening symptoms because they started taking collagen supplements. It wasn’t something I ever recommended, but I understand why they started taking it. Consider whether you have had this experience: you run into an old friend, or get to visit with a family member who you haven’t seen since later 2019. You are looking at them and thinking, “Man, you look terrible! You’re hair is falling out, your skin is pale, wrinkly and sagging. It’s as if you aged a decade in four years.” Mmm hmm. That’s the spike protein for you. It damages collagen, and appearances go to pot.

Collagen is akin to a three dimensional ladder which provides structure and support to our tissue. Spike damages it so that collagen becomes overbuilt and less flexible. Imagine the difference between a normal ladder with a foot between each rung, and a ladder with only an inch between rungs. The second one is nearly useless. It doesn’t need MORE crosslinks from supplemented collagen, it needs to be trimmed back to functionality. As a result of increased collagen crosslinking, skin loses its elasticity and tone, and blood vessels are not as resilient. This is one reason we see iliac venous compression in some patients; there is a perfect storm of endothelial injury, coagulopathy, and decreased flexibility.

It wasn’t so straight forward to figure out that collagen was hurting my patients. I end up feeling like a forensic clinician in a whodunnit story, looking for a clue that doesn’t emerge until the end of an hour-long visit (yes, we often spend up to an hour with our patients during a visit at The Leading Edge Clinic). We’re almost done and the patient tells me that a Naturopath or Chiropractor or helpful “functional” physician recommended collagen for their hair loss/saggy skin/soft nails. “But I didn’t put it on my supplement list, because it’s not really even a supplement.” Um, no. When we pin down the time they started it and when their symptoms started going south, there is consistently temporal association.

If you have been taking collagen for years, the story is even worse. What has changed in our bodies since late 2019 is that 100% of us now have amyloid fibrin microclotting. On a scale of 0-4, the best you will find, even in an unvaccinated patient, is a 1 out of 4. In most of my post-acute sequealae of COVID (PASC) and vaccine injured patients, the score is usually 3 or higher. Personally, I was a 2.5 out of 4, three months into anticoagulation therapy.

What does collagen have to do with clotting? Simply put, collagen stimulates platelet activaton and aggregation. I was reading a paper about natural ways to treat coagulopathy, and realized from one of it’s citations that the scientists were using collagen to provoke clotting. Check this out. On the bottom right of page 55 of the cited paper it says: “Determination of enzyme source of COX-1 and TXAS In our previous reports (Ok et al., 2012), we reported that the amount of TXA2 (determined as TXB2 ) in intact platelets was 4.0 ± 0.1 ng/108 platelets, and this was markedly increased to 356.1 ± 46.9 ng/108 platelets when platelets were stimulated with collagen (10 mg/ml) (Ok et al., 2012).” The bench scientists knew that if they wanted to provoke platelet aggregation and activation, all they had to do was add collagen to the platelets in solution. Yikes! In a post-Covidian world where everyone is microclotting, we don’t want to do things which provoke more clotting.

In a team meeting of our practice a few weeks ago, I reported that I had not yet seen a patient whose microclotting score didn’t improve over time with our treatments. It was the very next day that this track record changed. Six months after therapy with IVM, Aspirin, Plavix and Eliquis, the patient’s microclotting score remained a 3 out of 4. Scratching my head, I reviewed the chart and right there it was under supplements—collagen.

The last two weeks have seen a flurry of collagen conversations. “I felt the best I have since 2022, then two weeks ago I started to tank.” What did you change? Final answer in the last minute of the visit—collagen. Microclot testing shows one partner has a level of 1 out of 4, and the other is a 3.5 out of four. Both are world travelers with tons of shedding exposure. What’s a difference between the two? The latter has been using collagen as a supplement for years. Take home lesson: don’t use collagen.

The question has been raised about whether this means we should avoid bone broth due to its collagen content. The short answer is that I don’t know. I don’t think it’s enough to be problematic, and bone broth is very helpful with intermittent fasting by providing phosphates to rebuild cells, but I honestly just don’t know.

If supplementing collagen isn’t the answer, then what can you do to repair your collagen? One answer is Flavay. Not the knock-off generic versions of pycnogenol, but the real deal, orignating in France and made under several patents since 1948.

Aside from being a Francophile, I love Flavay for how it benefits patients clinically. It is made from French maritime pine bark. In addition to safely inhibiting platelet adhesion to other platelets and blood vessels (safe, because of no increased risk of bleeding), it also modulates nitric oxide producton, inhibits histamine release inside blood vessels, and renews/restores healthy collagen function by trimming overbuilt crosslinking. That is why you’ll see a lovely bikini-clad French woman running down the beach with her beautiful beau and children in the ads for Flavay. It rejuvenates your skin (and blood vessels). Vive le France!

P.S. I have no financial interest in Flavay or any other products which I mention in my Substack. If I do, you’ll be the second to know.

P.S.S. This week the number of subscribers from Minnesota lept ahead of my home state of New York. Hurray for Minnesota!

P.S.S.S. I am honored to be speaking at the third FLCCC Educational Conference, ‘Healthcare Revolution: Restoring the Doctor-Patient Relationship’, taking place February 2-4, 2024 in Phoenix, AZ! I’ll be speaking with my partner Dr Pierre Kory on shedding and also presenting a case study called Complex Syndrome, Complex Management, COVID Vaccine Injury. Looking forward to connecting with you there! You can learn more about the conference here: flccc.net/conference (http://flccc.net/conference)

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